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Sonic Origins Dev Goes Off On State Of The Game

A Headcannon employee has revealed Sega's remastered Sonic bundled was developed under 'major time crunch'

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A Sonic Origins image showing the Blue Blur, Sonic the Hedgehog, running really fast on some green field with his arms behind him like Naruto Uzumaki.
Sega: “Gotta go fast to get this game out!”
Image: Sega / Sonic Team

Software developer Simon “Stealth” Thomley of Headcannon—the studio behind Sonic Mania—popped off on the state of the remastered Sonic Origins bundle, on which the team also worked. In a series of tweets, he said Headcannon had to put in “major time crunch” and was barred from implementing “major fixes” before its June 23 release. Ultimately, he claimed, the team at Headcannon is “very unhappy” with Sonic Origins right now.

Sonic Origins has some solid scores from reviewers on Metacritic and OpenCritic, but currently it has a “mixed” rating on Steam. If you check out the reviews of the game on Valve’s digital distribution platform, you’ll see a variety of folks reading it for absolute filth. Some called the lack of integer scaling the “most important” con because “all four games look just as blurry as Sonic CD 2011.” Others said the keyboard controls are “unbelievably bad and that it “runs horribly.” Of course, everyone’s experience has been different, with a few people tweeting they didn’t encounter any issues at all during their play sessions.


Still, it seems whatever problems Sonic Origins has are widespread and frustrating enough for Thomley to post a multi-tweet thread airing out his grievances with the game’s development. You can hear the exhaustion.


“This is frustrating,” Thomley says. “I won’t lie and say there weren’t issues in what we gave to Sega, but what is in Origins is also not what we turned in. Integration introduced some wild bugs that conventional logic would have one believe were our responsibility—a lot of them aren’t.”

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Thomley spent the rest of the thread just cooking Sega for essentially how it mismanaged Sonic Origin’s development. He said Headcannon were “outsiders creating a separate project” before the studio got roped into working on the remastered bundle. Thomley knew this meant “major time crunch” for the team as they “worked [themselves] to the ground” to release the game on time. However, Headcannon stayed the course, which led to “some mistakes, some overlooking, [and] some rush jobs,” as well as some issues the team noticed but “weren’t allowed to correct near the end.”


“We asked to do major fixes near submission but weren’t allowed due to submission and approval rules,” Thomley tweets. “We asked about delays early and repeatedly but were told they weren’t possible. We offered to come back for post-release fixes and updates—we do not yet know if this is happening.”


Thomley noted that Headcannon wants to address the problems in both Sonic Origins and Sonic 3. He even said the studio gave Sega “a ton of feedback during and after development,” but it sounds as though the publisher gave them no wiggle room. Thomley apologized for how “unprofessional” his tweets might come across, saying he’s refusing to stay silent now because there was “too much scrutiny over things that both are and are not related to [Headcannon].” Though he’s proud of the work he and his team have done, he can’t deny everyone at the studio is “very unhappy” with the state of the two games.


Kotaku has reached out to Simon Thomley and Sega for comment.